You know the usual: when I see a movie in theater, I write a review. And it’s not because I saw this movie at COLCOA cause I helped to film the Q & A, that I won’t do it.
The film in the highlight last night was The innocents, from Anne Fontaine, which tells the story of Madeleine Pauliac, French doctor at the Hospital of Warsaw shortly after the Second World War. It is then in a generally not so cheerful context that opens the movie starts. Let’s face it, this is not the kind of film I would choose to see int theater or on television. So let’s try to be objective then.
The narrative structure, faithful to genre, aka Frenchy drama, drags a bit long, and if the body is generally well built, the end is a bit slow to come, losing itself in conclusions. Nothing too bad since that’s almost one attribute of the genre, or at least a cliché of it.
The photography is beautiful – even if the image is very austere for my taste: de-saturated and “dirty” – thanks to a very well controlled light. Still, the risk taking in terms of aesthetic is less and the framing is much more standard. And this is normal as we do not expect a this film to be a essay, especially with its theme. If the shots reverse shots are not exceptional but some image work around faith make its sacred dimension shine splendidly.
The music is a breath of fresh air, especially this little interlude of romantic piano, in an oppressive atmosphere and are of very good taste. The only small problem that took me away several times from contemplation: their transition are very (too) steep.
But the great strength of this film lies in the actors. Lou de Laâge plays Mathilde Beaulieu is doing brilliantly and brings an amazing strength and incredible presence to the character. In those cold blue eyes shine an inner fire as seldom I saw in a French actress. A discovery for me, to be followed very closely, I believe! And she does not take away the limelight from Vincent Macaigne in the role of the Jewish doctor who brings caustic humor – almost anachronistic? – which again just lighten the whole.
In conclusion: do the innocent is my kind of movie? No. Do I like it? I do not know … Is it a good movie? In its category, failing to have many points of comparison, I would say it is doing a wonderful job with a clean and assured direction, supported by fantastic actors. For if the two French are doing brilliantly, the work of Polish actors is not unworthy either!
Find more about The Innocents on IMDb !